Ah, shades of summer in the air. We technically have over 2 months left until summer, but when it comes to weather we tend to be quick to jump the gun. On nearly every tree here at Lakeshore, there is some sort of green. Many trees have unfolded their leaves completely. When the sun is out, you really feel it on your skin, these days. We’ve reached the 80s on several occasions this week. Baseball has begun, and only one game remains in college basketball. These are the days that we catch ourselves staring out the window of the office or classroom, watching the branches wave at us. There is a coat of green dust on your car in the morning. In the evenings, you walk out for a few moments and wish it could be much longer. You feel the need to soak this scene and this feeling up, to hold onto as long as you can. This calls you to enjoy it.
The United Methodist Women are having two retreats with us. One began Thursday and ended today. Then another will come in tomorrow and stay until Sunday. It was great to see some old friends. I got to sit down for lunch with Pat Calhoun and Joyce Wiggins along with a few new friends. I encouraged them to sneak out of their sessions and just sit in the rocking chairs for the afternoon. There is something during this time of year, I find at least, that calls out to the mischievous 10 year old in all of us who couldn’t imagine being indoors, no matter how noble the cause, on a day like today.
I have this feeling frequently on trips with groups of people. I am that energetic 10 year old who cannot stop moving. In the midst of deciding where to eat or fumbling with directions, I am simply looking around at the road or path that veers off into something I imagine is great. I wait patiently for that time when we decide to split up or when everyone takes a break. I tell them I am going to explore–that I’ll be back later. I feel like I’ve been set free like a wild horse to run across the range. I remember taking the El Train in Chicago to the end of the Purple Line all the way to the Linden stop in Wilmette, a Chicago suburb. I got out and walked this quiet neighborhood of beautiful houses, making my way to Lake Michigan. There was a park there on the sand dunes. I stopped for a minute to watch a group of young to middle-aged men playing soccer. I passed trees and bushes to the edge of the beach. It seemed completely wild, but I knew just a few miles down the coast, there was a giant city, towering over the lake shore. I had to get back to the bed and breakfast where I was staying in the neighborhood of Lakeview. I wanted more time to take it all in. I could have watched for hours.
I walked out of the office to take a call on my cell phone and watched many of the women who were out on their afternoon free time. I spied on a pair who were trying to push over a dead tree. I looked out onto our prayer labyrinth and watch four or five women make their way to the center and back out. People were walking in all directions over the camp under the sun, past a soft breeze. The bees were out, hard at work to touch everything not the color green. We have begun the time consuming task of keeping the grass trimmed at camp, and we recently hired a groundskeeper named Justin. He was both excited and nervous on his first day. He said he was just really afraid he was going to break or mess something up. I think after watching us handle boats in the summer, he’ll find it easier to relax.
This weekend, we have our largest backpacking retreat to date. We’ll have 12 campers with us, hiking into the woods of Nathan Bedford Forest State Park. There, at the end of that Saturday when the tents have been set up and I’m able to sit there with Kentucky Lake in the background, watching these 12 adventurers end their Saturday under the stars, fireflies, and infant leaves, I will want even more time to soak it all in.
This weekend, we have the United Methodist Women and a group of backpackers. Let’s enjoy this weekend that God has given us.